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Death, place and life in great digital cities


There are many examples in the Smarter City domain of projects that have exploited technology in order to address issues such as social inequality and economic growth - as Glasgow are now doing through the Future Cities Demonstrator project. But it is not always straightforward to understand how a project that has worked in one place can be adapted to another.
While these initiatives are enabled by technology, many of them are also dependent on changes in the behaviour of individuals and communities. Designing systems that result in changes in behaviour in the context of cities requires deep understanding of people, communities and places.
A corollary is for us to be aware of the unintended impact that new technologies can have - there is a view among some architects and town planners that many of the developments in towns and cities over the last century to cope with growing demand for the great technology of the last century - the motor car - have caused great damage to the human environment. By analogy, how do we understand how the implications of issues such as digital privacy will affect cities as the role of digital technology in them grows?
I'm in the middle of a series of workshops exploring these challenges between technologists, town-planners, place-makers and social scientists; I've just written the first of what I expect to be several articles on my blog based on what I'm learning from them. I'd be interested in any feedback or similar experiences from this community.


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